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HR 4685 by Rep Capps - DiFi & Boxer emails

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Federal Legislation Proposes To Protect 158 Miles Of Wild & Scenic Rivers On The Central Coast

[object Object]Representative Lois Capps has introduced legislation in Congress to protect more than 158 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers, 245,500 acres of Wilderness, and 34,500 acres of Scenic Areas on public lands in the Central Coast counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. H.R. 4685 also proposes to establish the Condor National Recreation Trail.

Also known as the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, H.R. 4685 is the product of years of discussion and negotiation, led by Rep. Capps, involving business leaders, conservationists, elected officials, ranchers, mountain bikers, and other stakeholders interested in the use and well-being of these iconic lands. Reps. Julia Brownley and Sam Farr, whose districts also include part of the proposal, have cosponsored the legislation.

Friends of the River and the California Wilderness Coalition played a key roll in identifying the rivers and acreage on public lands proposed for protection in the bill. Rivers and streams proposed for National Wild & Scenic Rivers protection include several small streams on the Los Padres National Forest that support important populations of threatened and endangered fish and wildlife such as the Central Coast steelhead, arroyo toad, California red-legged frog, California condor, and least Bell’s vireo. The streams proposed for protection also provide outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Just when the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on this important bill remains to be seen. The Committee has a mixed record in regard to its treatment of public lands protection bills. In the meantime, constituents of Rep. Capps, Rep. Brownley, and Rep. Farr (residents of Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and San Benito Counties) should thank them for introducing H.R. 4685. All residents of California should email Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Dianne Feinstein and urge them to introduce companion legislation to H.R. 4685 in the Senate. <click here> to send emails to your Senators.

Rivers proposed for protection in H.R. 4685 include:

[object Object]Piru Creek – 48.1 miles

Piru Creek offers rare opportunities to recreate along a year-round free flowing stream in southern California. The stream provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities, including wilderness hiking and backpacking, OHV travel, gold panning, camping, angling, family picnicking, and even whitewater kayaking, all within a river corridor with diverse and outstanding scenery. The entire creek flows through unique geological formations that provide important clues to tectonic forces that shape California. Identified by scientists as an area of high ecological significance, Piru Creek provides an important biological refuge for the endangered arroyo toad, California red-legged frog, least Bell’s vireo and southwestern willow flycatcher. H.R. 4685 will add more than 41 miles to the 7.25 miles of Piru Creek that Friends of the River and the California Wild Heritage Campaign helped to protect in the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System in 2009.

Sespe CreekUpper Sespe Creek – 20.9 miles

Upper Sespe Creek flows along scenic Highway 33, which provides access for popular day use recreation activities, including swimming, wading, picnicking, day hiking, horseback riding, and rock climbing in the spectacular Sespe Gorge. Dominated by the Piedra Blanca sandstone rock outcrops on the slopes above, the creek’s riparian vegetation offers dramatic spring and fall colors in contrast with rocky cliffs and dark green big cone Douglas firs. Identified by scientists as an area of high ecological significance, this free flowing stream is one of the best remaining low elevation and relatively intact aquatic ecosystems in the central and southern California region. The creek supports one of the few populations of endangered steelhead trout in southern California and one of the largest populations of endangered arroyo toad. H.R. 4685 proposes to add nearly 30 miles to the 32 miles of lower Sespe Creek that Friends of the River and Keep the Sespe Wild helped protect in the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System in 1992.

Matilija CreekMatilija Creek – 14.4 miles

Matilija Creek and its North Fork provide outstanding opportunities for hiking, backpacking, swimming, wading, wildlife viewing, fishing, and photography in a distinctive and scenic setting. A large waterfall on the main stem is a popular destination for day hikers and the North Fork Trail offers an outstanding overnight wilderness experience. The creek supports resident rainbow trout descended from migrating steelhead. Once federal, state, and local agencies complete the removal of the obsolete Matilija Dam downstream, the creek will once again provide more than 14 miles of critical habitat for these endangered fish.

indian creekMono and Indian Creeks – 24.5 miles & 14.4 miles (respectively)

Mono and Indian Creeks were identified by scientists as an area of high ecological significance. Both creeks provide nearly pristine refuges for a unique assemblage of native wildlife, including the largest population of endangered arroyo toad on the Los Padres National Forest, as well as the endangered California red-legged frog, least Bell’s vireo, and sensitive southwest pond turtle. Mono Creek flows through a distinctive narrow gorge with dramatic sandstone and shale formations and large boulders, waterfalls, and deep pools. Those willing to explore this rugged and remote stream must be willing to wade and swim some segments where water fills the canyon from wall to wall. Trails follow other segments of Mono Creek and much of Indian Creek, providing access for anglers, hikers, and backpackers.

Piru Creek

Manzana Creek & Tributaries – 36.2 miles

Manzana Creek is a major tributary of the Sisquoc Wild & Scenic River, which was protected by Congress in 1992. Because it is free flowing and undiverted, Manzana Creek and its tributaries (including Davy Brown Creek, Munch Creek, Fish Creek and its East Fork), as well as the South Fork Sisquoc River, are critical spawning and rearing streams for endangered southern steelhead as well as a refuge for larger steelhead in the Sisquoc River watershed (which is considered by biologists to possess the most abundant high quality habitat for steelhead in southern California). Manzana Creek and its tributaries also offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities, including camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing. The historic Manzana School House and Dabney Cabin are located on Manzana Creek and have been designated as historical landmarks by Santa Barbara County.

Scroll down to send your email TODAY to your U.S. Senators.

For more information, contact Steve Evans, Wild & Scenic Rivers Consultant, at (916) 442-3155 x221, email: sevans@friendsoftheriver.org.

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I urge your support of H.R. 4685 (Capps) to protect central coast rivers & wilderness

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am pleased that Rep. Lois Capps has introduced H.R. 4685, the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act. The bill proposes to protect more than 158 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers, 245,500 acres of Wilderness, and 34,500 acres of Scenic Areas on public lands in the Central Coast counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. H.R. 4685 also proposes to establish the Condor National Recreation Trail.

These iconic landscapes and waterways support important populations of threatened and endangered fish and wildlife such as the California condor, Central Coast steelhead, arroyo toad, California red-legged frog, and least Bell's vireo. They also provide outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation and their protection will enhance local tourism and local quality of life.




I urge you to introduce companion legislation in the Senate for H.R. 4685 and do everything you can to secure the protection of this important wild places and streams in Congress.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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